My Personal Journey
People often ask me why I chose therapy in addictive behaviours as a second career. My decision reflects a transformative change I experienced in my own life. I’m happy to share my story with you.
By mid-life, I had created a private existence for myself that was painful and self-defeating. Alcohol featured prominently in my partner’s life and, to be honest, I too began to realize that alcohol vanquished my feelings of shame, doubt and insecurity.
I was very fortunate to work with a therapist who helped me take the blinders off and fully understand what was happening in my life. Together, we identified meaningful and achievable goals and set a time line for implementation. Support was always available when I faced doubts and insecurities. Staying focused and moving forward was the goal I drilled into my head. Sure, I made mistakes, as we all do, when attempting to learn a new behaviour or skill. The trick was to pick myself up and get back on track immediately. Sometimes these little jogs in the road provided valuable new learning that seemed to speed up the whole process of understanding and change. You know, those epiphany moments in life that are so amazing.
Once I got the ball rolling, change just seemed to unfold in an ongoing manner. One small difference in thinking and behaviour pointed the way to the next. It’s a self-nurturing process that builds confidence and validates the direction of the journey begun. The old ways of artificially creating security, power, control, self-esteem and belongingness with addictive behaviours, gave way to real and sustained feelings grounded in positive experiences that reflected who I really am. Instead of being totally unknown to myself and others and hiding behind addictive behaviour, I discarded the false self and the behaviours and substances that supported it and kept it alive. Acknowledging and giving voice to the real person underneath all of those unhealthy behaviours is very much a transformative experience. I highly recommend it. My own journey through the process of change was so gratifying that I really felt I wanted to pass along what I had learned to others who were struggling with similar issues. And I’m happy to tell you that the journey is never complete for anyone. It’s an ongoing process that enriches life.
Education and professional training were necessary to permit entry into my chosen field. The path to my new career was not without its challenges. University, volunteering, work experience, hours of study and preparation, oral and written exams, portfolio presentations, and, eventually, certification as an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor, an arduous process, to say the least.
I gained much insight and experience working for various agencies in the field of addiction recovery but felt I wanted to move my new career in a different direction. Founded in 2002, my private practice, Addiction Alternatives has thrived for many years and continues to build on its invaluable relationships with individuals and the wider London community.
It’s important to know as you begin your own journey of transformation that it may seem as though the mountain of change is impossibly high. At times of struggle and self-doubt, please remember that all who dare to begin, must climb the mountain as we all do – one small step at a time, followed by another and another. Victory is not only achieved when you stand on the summit; it is achieved with each step you take.
Judy is certified by the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation. She is a graduate of The University of Western Ontario and McMaster University. With more than thirty years in the education and human services fields, Judy is dedicated to empowering individuals to identify and reach their goals,
maximize their potential, strengthen their relationships and restore balance, health and harmony to their lives.